The Wolverine

January 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2021 THE WOLVERINE 25   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Though he hasn't spoken to report- ers, the 6-6, 343-pounder indicated he was still on board in a Dec. 14 tweet. "I'm going to look good in that 73 next year!" he wrote underneath a pic- ture of him in a maize and blue jersey. Allen began his college career at LSU in 2016, spent the 2017 campaign at Tyler Junior College, and then played 2018 and 2019 at Louisiana Tech, where he started 15 games, in- cluding all 13 in 2019 at left tackle. He was named an All-Conference USA honorable mention in the latter sea- son, and was included on the league's 2020 preseason all-conference second- team units done by Athlon and Phil Steele, before he opted out this fall. The portal works the other way, too, and a trio of Wolverines entered in December. Redshirt freshman center Zach Carpenter was the most sur- prising on the surface, submitting his name Dec. 10. The 6-5, 329-pounder started the last two games for the Wol- verines after fifth-year senior Andrew Vastardis suffered an injury. He ap- peared in five of the team's six games. Carpenter, a three-star recruit in the class of 2019 from Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati, earned the title of Michigan's Offen- sive Scout Team Player of the Year during his redshirt season a year ago. Fifth-year senior punter Will Hart was next, entering the portal Dec. 16. He'll be allowed to play anywhere next year as a fifth-year senior once again given the NCAA's ruling that the 2000 season didn't count against any player's eligibility. Hart started the Wolverines' first two games against Minnesota and Michigan State, but he was replaced in the Oct. 31 tilt with the Spartans in favor of redshirt junior Brad Robbins and never reclaimed the job. The former walk-on had his ups and downs in Ann Arbor. He came out of nowhere to earn the job as a redshirt sophomore in 2018, averag- ing a school-record 47.0 yards per punt on 43 attempts. Nineteen of his 43 kicks went 50 yards or further, and he earned the Big Ten's Punter of the Year Award as a result. He regressed slightly as a redshirt junior in 2019 but was still effective, averaging 44.2 yards on 51 tries. The Hunting Valley, Ohio, native struggled mightily through Michigan's first two games, however, managing only 37.8 yards on four punts, and never saw the field again after Rob- bins grabbed the starting job from him. Redshirt sophomore running back Christian Turner also entered his name into the portal Dec. 19, an un- surprising development. Turner had opted out prior to the 2020 campaign before eventually returning once the Big Ten reversed course and allowed the season to start, though he only appeared in one game this year (spe- cial teams against Wisconsin). Turner was fifth on the depth chart (at best) this season, trailing sopho- more Zach Charbonnet, redshirt sophomore Hassan Haskins, fresh- man Blake Corum and fifth-year se- nior Chris Evans. The Buford, Ga., native's career got off to a promising start before fading quickly. He played in three games while redshirting as a fresh- man in 2018, rushing for 99 yards on 20 carries. He started the 2019 campaign as Michigan's primary running back, but fumble issues quickly relegated him to the bench. Turner finished that season with 171 yards and a touchdown on 44 attempts, though he didn't receive a carry in the Wol- verines' final four games of the sea- son. The time he spent away from the team during his 2020 opt out put him further behind on the depth chart. Finally, fifth-year senior Chris Ev- ans will not return in 2021 and will instead pursue an NFL career. Evans missed the 2019 season due to an aca- demic issue but worked his way back into school and onto the team after appealing and putting in the work. Evans managed just 73 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries in 2020, and caught nine passes for 87 yards, playing only 93 offensive snaps. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection in 2017 and finished his U-M career with 1,795 rushing yards (5.6 per carry) and 15 touchdowns, plus 49 re- ceptions for 479 yards and two scores. — Chris Balas KWITY PAYE LEADS U-M'S ALL-BIG TEN HONORS WITH SECOND-TEAM NOD FROM COACHES Senior defensive end Kwity Paye, who is moving on to the NFL Draft after graduating this fall, was the only Wolverine on offense or defense to land on one of the three All-Big Ten teams, with Paye earning second-team honors from the media. The coaches handed him an honorable mention. Paye totaled 16 stops, including four tackles for loss, and two sacks in four games this fall. He injured his lower leg against Indiana and was forced to miss the next two contests before returning against Penn State, the game that wound up being U-M's final one of the slate. Paye is expected to be selected very early in the 2021 NFL Draft. CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson has Paye going off the board at No. 9 overall in the first round of his latest mock draft, while Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports has Paye being picked at No. 13 overall. PFF analyst Michael Renner pegged Paye as the fifth player cho- sen in his most recent mock. Sophomore safety Daxton Hill was named honorable mention by both the coaches and media, after he finished second on the team with 46 tackles, including a squad-best 30 solo stops. Hill also recorded five passes broken up, including one interception in his first full season as a starter. Fifth-year senior defensive lineman Carlo Kemp earned an honorable mention from the league coaches, while senior safety Brad Hawkins and redshirt sophomore viper Mi- chael Barrett each earned honorable mentions from the media. Kemp, a two-time team captain Louisiana Tech graduate transfer Willie Allen started all 13 games at left tackle in 2019, when he was named an All-Conference USA honorable mention. He sat out this fall and will play at Michigan in 2021. PHOTO BY TOM MORRIS/COURTESY LOUISIANA TECH ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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